When you buy or sell a house, land or investment property you must sign legal documents.
The work involved in preparing these legal documents, such as the contract of sale is called conveyancing.
You should use a licensed conveyancing agent or solicitor to do this work, but you may also do it yourself.
What happens during conveyancing
The conveyancing process can involve any of the following:
- preparing or examining a contract of sale
- arranging building and pest inspections
- examining a strata inspection report if the property is part of a strata title
- exchanging the contract of sale and paying the deposit
- arranging payment of stamp duty
- preparing and examining the mortgage agreement
- finding out if any government authority has an interest in the land or if any planned development could affect the property
- finding out any information that is relevant and may not have been disclosed, such as illegal building work
- preparing pool fencing paper work including declaration of no pool
- calculating adjustments for council and body corporate fees for the property settlement
- completing any final checks prior to settlement
- attending settlement
- overseeing of the change of title with the Land Titles Office.
What conveyancers do
Conveyancers can complete the legal work needed for the sale and transfer of all real estate property.
This includes all of the following:
- prepare and exchange contracts of sale
- land titles and caveats searches
- get certificates
- arrange and attend on settlement
- exchange documents and receipt of money on settlement.
They may also be able to do leases, mortgages, encumbrances and restrictive covenants and business sales.
Before you use a conveyancer
You should check that your conveyancing agent is licensed in the Northern Territory (NT) and they must have professional indemnity insurance for your protection.
You can check if your conveyancing agent if licensed by contacting your local Licensing NT office.
What a conveyancer charges
Before signing a contract of sale you should talk to a few conveyancers and compare their fees.
You have the right to negotiate the fee and it must be based on a fair and reasonable price for the work performed.
Fees will vary between solicitors and licensed conveyancing agents as there is no official fee structure for conveyancing services.
Fees will include any of the following costs:
- title searches
- rates and charges by authorities with responsibility for water, electricity, roads
- Land Titles Office registration fees.
Other costs you may be charged for when using a conveyancer or solicitor can include any of the following:
- building and pest inspections
- survey report
- establishment of mortgage
- property insurance
- valuation fees.
You will also have to pay stamp duty when you purchase a property.
Using a solicitor for conveyancing
Solicitors can do all conveyancing work as well as give legal advice about other matters.
Solicitors must have professional indemnity insurance.
The Law Society of the Northern Territory website website has a list of current NT based legal practitioners and contact details if you are having difficulty locating a suitable legal professional in your area.
Do conveyancing yourself
You will not be covered by the same insurance as conveyancers or solicitors if you complete conveyancing yourself.
If you make a mistake you are responsible for any costs.
If you want more details on conveyancing go to the Australian Institute of Conveyancers website.
Last updated: 23 March 2016